We Stand Together

manchester

As I sat on the top deck of the bus, the tears began to flow.  It was a surreal experience as the bus sat motionless at the side of the road, its engine silent, and the world stopped for a moment as a group of strangers united in remembrance and grief.

We thought of the 22 innocent people killed by one evil act and the countless others impacted: family and friends, others seriously injured, those who witnessed the horror, the medical teams even now still battling to save lives.

Sometimes there are no words.

To try to understand such wickedness, and especially the fact that children were deliberately targeted, is beyond my comprehension.

I can’t understand why, and nothing I say can make any difference.

So we sat in silence for a minute; then the world started moving again, life returned to normal and we went our separate ways, but I couldn’t get it out of my mind that for many, life will never be “normal” again.

Sometimes there are no words.

And yet to say nothing seems worse.  To fail to acknowledge it, to brush it aside, seems cold and heartless.  My words, however clumsy, however ineffective, can at least say that I care, that I weep, that I am thinking of the people of Manchester and the people of Barra and all the other people affected.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”  (John 1:5 NIV)

The darkness has certainly had a good try this week, but the light has not been extinguished.  In the midst of the deep darkness there are rays of light, acts of heroism and beauty: the woman who was killed shielding her niece from the blast of the bomb, the homeless man who rushed to help the injured children, the many people offering lifts home or a bed for the night to those who were stranded.

As the Bishop of Manchester urged people to stand together, he encouraged them that “love, in the end, is always stronger than hate.”

Sometimes there are no words, except to say: stand together, Manchester, and we will stand with you.

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